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16.04.2010 metro.co.uk That great election debate on the telly Three men, three suits and three very well rehearsed sets of arguments. And the winner? Step forward Mr Clegg Pages 4&5

Smoke billows from the volcano in Iceland that disrupted British flights yesterday Picture: AFP/Getty

The day the skies stood still

HUNDREDS of thousands of air passengers were plunged into turmoil yesterday as an erupting volcano grounded almost all British flights – and the chaos could drag on for days. All but emergency flights into and out of the country were cancelled as a cloud of ash drifted across Europe from Iceland. Frustrated travellers accused air traffic controllers of overreacting, causing a flight standstill that could cost the airline industry £30million a day. But experts said planes had to be grounded, since the ash could affect visibility or shut down engines, causing aircraft to crash. Arrivals and departures across most of Britain were wiped out from noon yesterday, with air-

by Aidan Radnedge space closed until 1pm today at the earliest. Dr Andrew Bell, from Edinburgh University’s School of Geosciences, said: ‘It is very difficult to say how long the eruption could last. Activity – and disruption – could continue for weeks or months.’ The surging ash cloud from the Eyjaffjalljokull volcano spread across Scandinavia, drifting down across Scotland and towards the south coast of England throughout yesterday. Among the airports brought to a standstill was Heathrow, which usually handles 1,300 flights and 180,000 passengers a day. Flights were also called off in

Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France and the Netherlands. CivilAviationAuthority spokesman Richard Taylor said the effect on flights was ‘worse than the 9/11 terror attack’. ‘That stopped transatlantic air traffic but, even then, flights to the continent and within the UK continued,’ he added. Passengers were forced to try to find hotels or pour on to other transport, including trains, ferries and coaches. At Heathrow, 70-year-old Patrick Keys, hoping to get home to Dublin, said: ‘I think they over-reacted. The skies were totally clear.’ But air traffic controllers Nats insisted: ‘Safety is our priority.’ Full reports UP8-9


METRO Friday, April 16, 2010

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2day Max: 16°c

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aroundEurope 2day Cloud spreading south across Scotland and Northern Ireland with rain in northern Scotland. Dry in England and Wales with lots of sunshine. Warm for many.

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Friday, April 16, 2010 METRO

3

Welcome to CSI Wales – the no-frills forensics lab that’s full of dummies

Crime Scene Isn’t It? Another Sesame Street star nails himself to a plank. What a Muppet

By Joel Taylor IN GLAMOROUS New York, Las Vegas and Miami, TV’s Crime Scene Investigators stalk the streets using cutting-edge technology, state-of-the art forensic methods and seemingly psychic hunches to solve complex crimes. In Wales, they get a boiler-suit, a clipboard and a bunch of dummies. Welcome to CSI Glamorgan, where forensic science students, spurred on by the US super-sleuths, practise their skills in a former caretaker’s house that has been turned into the scene of six fairly unconvincing murders. But while the corpses may look a bit, well, lifeless, the equipment may seem distinctly low-tech and cutting one-liners delivered in Welsh accents may fall a bit flat, this is all deadly serious stuff. ‘There is a phenomenon that has come to be known as the CSI effect,’ said forensic pathologist Bernard Knight, who helped convict Fred

Oh, what a horrible scene. Death by white socks and jam

and Rose West and after whom the CSI home owned by the University of Glamorgan was named. ‘Nowadays, we all feel that we’re experts on DNA, fingerprints and trace evidence and, in some ways, it’s causing a bit of a problem. Jurors

expect more categorical proof than science will allow for and criminals are better prepared than ever before. ‘That’s why facilities such as this are so vital in furthering the science and enabling the next generation of forensic examiners to

stay that crucial step ahead of the bad guys.’ Students in the ‘house of horrors’ interpret blood spatters and look for DNA deposits and traces of hair and clothing. And if they have any delu-

Hello, my name is Shadwell and I’m canvassing for your votes

sions about how glamorous the job will be, it may provide a much-needed wake-up call. ‘My abiding memories of 40 years seem to be of standing over corpses in muddy ditches or on freezing hillsides at 3am,’ said Prof Knight.

Search for clues: Forensic science students in the Glamorgan ‘house of horrors’, where six bloody murder scenes have been recreated using dummies Pictures: Wales News Service


4

METRO Friday, April 16, 2010

Mandy derides â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;trivialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Cameron BUSINESS secretary Lord Mandelson attempted to stoke tensions ahead of the debate by saying Gordon Brown thought David Cameron was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;trivial and glibâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. He said if Mr Cameron started â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pulling tricksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Mr Brown would have to be careful not to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rise to itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or be â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;drawn into game-playingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think David Cameronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clever. David Cameron is clever. I think the prime minister just sometimes finds him a bit trivial and a bit glib,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; he added. Nick

Clegg is known to dislike Mr Brown, who has tended to patronise him during Prime Ministerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Questions, addressing his party only as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;the Liberalsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Mr Clegg was also believed to have been riled when the prime minister presented plans for dealing with the expenses scandal to other party leaders as if they were already set in stone. Mr Cameronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aide refused to be drawn into the spat, saying he â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;would not express his personal views about [Mr Brown]â&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

BORIS JOHNSON warned yesterday a hung parliament, would cause â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;endless dickering aroundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The London mayor (pictured) said a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;spatchcock coalitionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; might result if no single party could form a government. Mr Johnson, a Conservative, also predicted that Tory leader David Cameron would â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;shineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in last nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s TV election debate.

Round in ďŹ ght By John Higginson Political Editor RANK outsider Nick Clegg was the overall winner of last nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leadersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; debate, according to most polls. The Liberal Democrat leader won over the audience with his passionate arguments on beating crime, cutting class sizes and reforming parliament. According to ITVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poll, 43 per cent of the audience thought Mr Clegg did best, with Mr Cameron on 26 per cent and Mr Brown on 20. A YouGov poll for The Sun had Mr Clegg on 51 per cent, Mr Cameron on 29 per cent and Mr Brown on 19. A Channel 4 poll had Mr Clegg on 58 per cent, Mr Brown on 28 per cent and Mr Cameron on 13 per cent. And Sky News put Mr Clegg on 37 per cent, Mr Cameron on 31 per cent and Mr Brown on 32 per cent. As the least known of the three, Mr Clegg had the most to gain while, as the most popular, Mr Cameron had the most to lose. Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first TV debate between potential prime ministers produced no classic clips of gaffes to be run again and again â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but plenty of food for thought for viewers and voters. Despite frantic behind-the-scenes spinning from each of the parties even as the 90-minute programme was being aired on ITV, Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron each turned in solid performances, without flooring their opponents. Although occasional exchanges may have seemed harsh, they did not match

the weekly cut and thrust of the Commons chamber during prime ministerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s questions. But across topics including immigration, crime, the NHS, the ballooning national debt, as well as the armed forces, care for the elderly, education and MPsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; expenses, the party leaders did genuinely cross swords and expose policy differences. Mr Clegg clearly benefited from being seen on an equal footing with his rivals and looked straight into the camera to deliver some of his best lines. He also most often identified with the audience as the relative outsider, contrasting himself with â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;themâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, the other two would-be occupants of No.10. He took care to refer by name to the eight studio audience members who had posed questions when he made his closing address. Mr Brown belied his gloomy image by raising the only laughs from the studio audience â&#x20AC;&#x201C; forbidden by the rules agreed between the parties and broadcasters from applauding â&#x20AC;&#x201C; when he thanked the Tories for putting up posters showing him smiling. And the Conservative leader made sure he hammered home his messages. Additional reporting by Rebecca Burns

Talk is cheap â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but it can prove costly

            

        

    

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WHOEVER is seen as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;victoriousâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; after last nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s debate could take a big step towards election success. History shows the live events can be crucial in attracting floating voters. However, while some campaigns are defined by debate performances, not everyone who comes out on top ends up a winner. In two of the past three Australian elections, the party leader judged to have won the debate did not win the election. But the most famous TV face-off remains the first in US history â&#x20AC;&#x201C; John F Kennedy and Richard Nixonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clash in front of 70million viewers in 1960. In the

first of three debates, Nixon looked pale and sweaty after a recent stay in hospital. Kennedy, on the other hand, was tanned from campaigning in California. The impression stuck and, despite doing well in the remaining debates, Nixon (pictured) lost the election. Those who listened to the first debate on the radio felt Nixon had come out on top. The last set of US debates were decisive too. In the first, John McCain was criticised for not looking at Barack Obama. In 1992, George Bush Snr lost ground to Bill Clinton when he was seen glancing at his watch during a question.


Friday, April 16, 2010 METRO

one to Nick Clegg for the TV voters Worst joke

Studio reaction On a night of few laughs, Gordon got a rare one, thanking David for all the posters featuring pictures of him. ‘There’s no newspaper editor who has done as much for me in the last two years – my face is smiling in all of them.’

Sound bite

Nick won over the audience by speaking directly to them and asking where they were when he could not see them. They reacted positively but were not allowed to clap or boo. The leaders were not allowed to ask them questions.

Word of the night

Gordon challenged the Tory leader: ‘This is not Question Time, David; it’s answer time.’ David’s best line was: ‘Our police officers should be crime fighters, not form fillers.’ Nick: ‘You’ve had tough talk about immigration from both Conservative and Labour governments and chaos in the actual system.’

Appearance Gordon was the only leader not to wear a tie in the colour of his party. Pink looked like watereddown red. Is he watering down Labour’s policies? Make-up helped Nick look less pasty but David may have been using too much.

It was ‘Nick, Nick, Nick’ as commentators and the public praised the Lib Dem leader’s performance. The two leaders who were supposed to be unassailable were left floundering in his wake in the opinion surveys, as the man who had most to gain from the encounter grabbed his opportunity.

Convincing? Nick Clegg benefited from being seen on an equal footing with Gordon and David and cleverly looked straight into the camera to deliver some of his best lines. He identified with the audience, using the questioner’s name, as the relative outsider and contrasted himself with his rivals.

Passion

Policy or personality

Nick was passionate about getting tough on crime and immigration. He started sounding like a Tory. Earlier, he said: ‘The nerves are there. I’ve just been to see the set. I’m really excited.’ Asked what he was worried about, he said: ‘What am I not worried about? I want to be myself.’

All three were keen to pad out their answers with anecdotes of the real people they have met touring Britain. The black man in Plymouth fed up with immigrants, the premature baby unit with no staff because of lack of doctors and the chef who said there would be no chefs from outside the EU allowed into Britain soon.

Stumble pie Gordon was caught out when he said: ‘Nick supports me on this’ as he talked about parliamentary reform. It forced a frown from Nick, who was less keen to forge a new LibLab pact. He replied: ‘No I don’t. I want parliamentary reform but you voted against it’.

Temper, temper! David Cameron, miffed at Nick Clegg when he gloated that no Liberal Democrat had been carpeted for abusing expenses, reminded viewers that millionaire Michael Brown was still on the run for alleged fraud after donating £2.5billion to the party and asked Nick if they had given it back. Nick’s weak response was ‘that was years ago’.

Charm or smarm

Online reaction

Gordon looked smarmy when laughing at David as he criticised the ID card system, and smiling when Nick criticised the other two for still not sorting out parliamentary reform after the expenses scandal... better than throwing a tantrum. Gordon tried to charm servicemen and women by saying: ‘I just want to express my pride and my admiration for the armed forces.’

There were seven tweets a second about the debate. BickerRecord said: ‘Cameron keeps mentioning places he’s been to. I went to Norwich once, but it doesn’t make me worthy of being PM.’

5


6

METRO Friday, April 16, 2010

U Election scrapbook

Met inquiry into BNP’s ‘dirty tricks’

Tweet of the day: ‘Heading for north-west. Unlike Tory candidate for Bolton West I have not brought spouse to ask tame questions’ Foreign secretary David Miliband has a pop at Susan Williams, who came under fire for taking a question from her husband during the BBC’s town hall debate Gaffe of the day: Two rival Unionist parties in Northern Ireland, the DUP and the UCU, have used the same model from a stock photo agency in campaign material, saying she is voting for them Quote of the day: ‘It’s like having one big huge job interview in front of the whole nation’ Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg gives his view on the TV leaders’ debate.

LORD Mandelson took to the ballroom floor yesterday in a whirl of seaside frolics on Blackpool promenade. The business secretary struck up a dance with Hannah Mackenzie, a 67-year-old spiritual healer from Huddersfield. Lord Mandelson said she had given him ‘a new lift, a spring in my step’.

POLICE are investigating the British National Party for allegedly running a dirty tricks campaign against a rival candidate. The Met confirmed it was looking into claims the far-right party had lied in literature about Margaret Hodge, the Labour hopeful in Barking. BNP leader Nick Griffin is challenging the culture minister for the east London seat. In a newsletter sent to residents, his party claimed Mrs Hodge (pictured) had financial interests in a proposed new prison for Barking. It also carried a cartoon suggesting she was personally behind a ‘racist’

EXCLUSIVE by John Higginson Political Editor housing allocation. It also said a member of her staff hung up on an ex-soldier when he called her office. Mrs Hodge said: ‘This is politics of the worst kind. Griffin creates a big lie, tells it often enough and it hopes it becomes a truth.’ Her lawyers have contacted the BNP over the claims. The BNP denies any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Charlotte Lewis, a BNP candidate, defended as ‘hilarious’ pictures of her wearing a burka and fishnet stockings at a party.

Mayor sorry for immigrant jibe Mr Whippy: Business secretary Peter Mandelson briefly loses his cool as he enjoys a double scoop on a campaign stop in Blackpool Picture: Reuters

A TOWN mayor has apologised after she compared immigrants to sperm. Sue Mills, of Torrington in Devon, wrote on Facebook: ‘Illegal immigrants are like sperm – millions of them come in but only one works.’ She said she regretted any offence caused by the comment.


Friday, April 16, 2010 METRO

Police move in at rally

ANTI-fascist protesters were involved in violent scuffles with BNP supporters yesterday. One was bundled away by police after he broke through police lines and tried to punch a BNP supporter. Anti-fascist protesters chanted ‘Nazi scum. Off our streets’ and ‘Smash the BNP’ as the far-right party unveiled a number of local and parliamentary election candidates in Croydon, south London. BNP London organiser Robert Bailey, who is standing in Romford, Essex, had earlier told a group of about 40 candidates they were there to put immigration on the election agenda. The BNP manifesto was never presented and is expected to be officially unveiled later this month.

Violence: Police move in to haul away a man as supporters of the BNP and anti-fascists clash in Croydon, south London. He allegedly tried to punch a BNP member Picture: PA

Running, eating and a fag to relax By John Higginson FOR Gordon Brown it is pilates, for David Cameron it’s growing veg while Nick Clegg says sneaking out the back for a smoke does it for him. With the election campaign reaching the end of another stressful week, the leaders revealed their relaxation tips to show voters their personal side. The prime minister said he did a ‘lot of tearing around after the kids, a lot of kickabouts and treasure hunts’ to take his mind away from Westminster. ‘I also try to run in the park or on the treadmill. I’ve tried pilates but running suits me best,’ he added. Mr Brown admitted to loving chocolate but did not mention his rumoured love of bananas. Conservative leader Mr Cameron said he jogged twice a week, cyc-

led to work once a week, as well as gardening and playing tennis. His worst health habit was eating fatty foods and eating too much. He added: ‘I do lots of cooking and I like growing my own vegetables.’ Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg said he played tennis once a week and was an ‘obsessive skier’. But he revealed a less PC guilty pleasure. ‘If I’ve had a really long day, I steal into the back garden and have a quick smoke. ‘It’s five minutes to myself. It drives Miriam [my wife] round the bend,’ Mr Clegg said. His biggest

health worry was long-term sleep deprivation. ‘All my mum ever says when she sees me on the telly is, “You look so tired, dear”,’ he added. All are fathers of children under ten, with Mr Cameron saying there was ‘something life-enhancing’ about having children Nancy, six, and Arthur, four, bouncing around. Mr Clegg said there was ‘no greater antidote to the lunacy of modern politics’ than his children, Antonio, eight, Alberto, five, and one-year-old Miguel. Mr Brown said sons John, six, and Fraser, three, were always ‘in and out of the office’. Asked the most useful thing in his medicine cabinet, he replied: ‘When you’ve two kids, you can never have enough plasters!’ The three spoke to Zest magazine. The May issue is on sale today.

Greens focus on the climate and economy MOTORISTS, drinkers and overseas holidaymakers were targeted for tax rises by the Green Party yesterday. Unveiling the party’s policies in Brighton, home of their main target seat, leader Caroline Lucas said they would focus on tackling the climate and economic crisis. The party plans to raise fuel

duty by eight per cent a year and introduce VAT and fuel duty on aviation, which ‘would raise £10billion by 2013’. Ms Lucas also vowed to raise the minimum wage to £8.10 an hour, compared with the current minimum of £5.80. ‘Our aim is to set out how to make Britain a greener and much fairer society,’ she said.

Going green: Caroline Lucas

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METRO Friday, April 16, 2010

Field trip girls ďŹ&#x201A;ed to safety TEENAGE British girls had to be from the cabins by emergency rushed from cabins in the path of a services. Some, dressed only in deadly torrent of ice melted by the their pyjamas, had to leave erupting Iceland volcano. The 34 belongings behind as they were put girls, aged 14 to 16, were on coaches. Pupil Ellie Pritchard, evacuated from log cabins in a 15, said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;There was no noise or valley just miles from volcano lava or anything like that, but it Eyjafjallajokull. The girls, from was very scary because we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Loughborough High School, know what was happening. When Leicestershire, had been due to we were on the coaches we were study a glacier above the volcano told the valley could be flooded at as part of their GCSE geography any time by all the melting ice field trip. But above the the eruption â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the best geography glacier. I have threatened to spoken to my ďŹ eld trip weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve hadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; drown them mum and dad in meltwater. and let them Nearby farms and valleys were know I am OK. This is the best engulfed by water. The evacuation geography field trip weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; began at 4am yesterday when the The party is now stranded in girls were woken and moved away Reykjavik waiting for the all-clear.

Check insurance small print PASSENGERS left marooned by the volcanic events could struggle to win full refunds. Insurance policies vary significantly across different firms, consumer experts warned â&#x20AC;&#x201C; especially when dealing with so-called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;acts of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Airlines are bound by law to offer refunds or transfers to make up for cancelled or delayed flights. But they were not obliged to cover other elements, such as accommodation and car hire. Travellers were urged to contact their insurance company to see if additional parts of their holidays were covered.

Empty skies: This radar image shows swarms of planes over London around 11am, left. The image on the right, taken at 1.10pm yesterday, shows there is just one plane over the UK

           

 

 

  

        

  


Friday, April 16, 2010 METRO

And that was just a little one, warn volcanologists THE WORST could still be to come from Iceland’s volcanoes as an even more explosive one threatens to erupt, experts have warned. The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, also known as Eyjafjoll, which erupted yesterday, has blown three times before – and each time triggered even more powerful effects from nearby Mount Katla. Yesterday’s blast was Eyjafjoll’s first in almost 200 years. The previous eruption – and subsequent quakes triggered by it – lasted two years. Katla, described as ‘enormously powerful’, has not erupted on a large scale since 1918 – and volcanologists say a blast is overdue. Because Katla lies under the vast Myrdalsjokull ice cap, its eruption could cause a vast glacial flood. ‘Eyjafjallajokull hardly makes a move without Mount Katla wanting to get in on the action,’ warned geophysicist Prof Páll Einarsson. An

By Aidan Radnedge eruption at Mount Katla could melt huge amounts of ice and cause massive floods, affecting a town of 300 people nearby, Prof Einarsson added. Eyjafjoll’s three recorded eruptions triggered violent activity at Mount Katla – in 920, 1612 – and a disturbance stretching from 1821 to 1823. ‘So far, there have been no signs of the reawakening of the Katla volcano, but a lot of things can still happen,’ Prof Einarsson concluded. Experts were also warning that major volcanic eruptions can affect weather patterns. The eruption of an Icelandic volcano in 1783 caused a thick fog of gas across much of Europe and North America for eight months. But, rather than ultimate catastrophe, meteorologists say the ash in the sky is more likely to merely cause some spectacular sunsets.

Fed up: Alessia Fortunato, seven, sits it out at Edinburgh airport yesterday, after British airspace was closed owing to the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland Picture: PA

Cloud could cause jet engines to stall PLANES’ jet engines can cut out when they come into contact with volcanic dust clouds. Pilots are advised to avoid them, while safety tips for those who do get caught have been rewritten in recent years – to stop crews speeding up and trying to power through the clouds. Instead, pilots are told to ease off and dip down into dust-free stretches of cooling air. Once inside engines, ash can melt, forming molten glass that sticks to nozzles

and turbines, the Open University’s Dr David Rothery said. Dropping to a lower altitude meant ‘cold air drawn into the engines usually shatters the glass and allows the engines to restart’, he added. Volcanic ash can also damage fan blades and block or even break windscreens. It can disrupt the flow of high-pressure combustion gases and can also cause electrical short circuits in wet weather, because it conducts electricity.

U No menace to mobiles – yet MOBILE phones and satellite dishes should be spared any illeffects from the dust cloud but scientists refused to rule out an impact. The ash was too high to affect dishes, said John Yates, of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, although the

weather posed a risk. ‘Wet conditions prior to ash falling will cause it to stick to satellite dishes – heavy rain afterwards will wash it off,’ he said. Steve Bond, an airline expert at City University London, said the dust was too high to cause trouble.

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METRO Friday, April 16, 2010 Picture: Getty

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:60 second interview

Diana Vickers, 18, rose to fame on The X Factor in 2008, coming in fourth to eventual winner Alexandra Burke. Vickers was acclaimed for her title role in last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s production of the musical Little Voice. She releases her debut single Once on Monday

Diana Vickers

Interview by Andrew Williams â&#x2013;  Didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you have a mental breakdown after you were booted off The X Factor?

No, I was just really exhausted because I had such an amazing time on the show. I had the adrenaline of being on the show every day and working really hard so I was exhausted afterwards. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what happens when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been working really hard for ages, you get ill and run down. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like when you go on a crazy holiday to Ibiza for three weeks, then you get a cold afterwards. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d done The X Factor tour and got signed. It was all a bit sudden and I got tired. â&#x2013;  What do you make of Jedward?

Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re good entertainers. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got an awkward endearing side to them I suppose and a lot of people love it. â&#x2013;  Have you got a typical fan?

Young girls and lads but my gigs

60seconds@ukmetro.co.uk â&#x2013;  Have you been sent anything nice for free? Shoes, clothes for

the video shoots, nice things from Jo Malone and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had mountains of Dairy Milk on my rider. I love it. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve specified it has to be at every gig. As long as I have a nice bit of Dairy Milk, a kettle and some honey Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m all set to perform. â&#x2013;  Have you got any favourite varieties? I love them all â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the plain,

the Fruit & Nut and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m loving the new Tasters, which are just little balls of chocolate. â&#x2013;  Have you been recognised when you werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expecting it?

We were travelling in the middle of the night and I really needed a wee so we pulled over into this little hut cafĂŠ thing in the middle of nowhere. This woman said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Oh my god, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Diana Vickers.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; It was weird. It was

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The claw was just something I did when I was singing. I was nervous. My body does what it does on stageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; have been full of people in their twenties and thirties as well. A man in the street who looked about 60 told me he thought I was great the other day. It varies a lot. â&#x2013;  Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the appeal? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know. I have a lot of fans who followed me from the audition rounds of the show. People saw a lot of my personality on The X Factor and I guess they must like my voice. I must be doing something right. â&#x2013;  People commented on your â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;clawâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and arm gesticulations during The X Factor. Were you bothered? Not really. We all

do things when weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re singing. I was just nervous. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something I did and got criticised for it. Your fans stand by you but some people who wanted Alexandra or JLS to win would have criticised anything that anyone else did because they were so in awe of their favourite act. â&#x2013;  Have you made a conscious effort to keep your arms under control? I just get on stage and

whatever happens happens. My body does what it does.

just her and this old man miles from anywhere. â&#x2013;  Have you ever asked anyone for their autograph? Noel and

Liam Gallagher. I was ten and saw them at an airport in Majorca. I was really into Oasis at the time. They had a photo taken with me and were really lovely. â&#x2013;  Have you spent any of your money yet? I bought a Stella

McCartney dress and a treadmill. The dress is beautiful, long and white and very elegant. Sadly, the treadmill is just sitting in a corner gathering dust. â&#x2013;  Have you ever been attacked by an animal? When I was a baby

a swan jumped into my pram and started pecking me and cut me. My mum had to get it off. It was a big ordeal apparently but I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t remember it. Then, when I was 11, my pet hamster crawled up my pants and bit me somewhere personal. He was called Nibbles, which is very ironic. For more 60 Second Interviews visit metro.co.uk/fame


Friday, April 16, 2010 METRO 11

20-year-old told she can’t buy or consume alcohol anywhere for 2 years

Banned from drinking A WOMAN of 20 is thought to have become the first person to be banned from buying or drinking alcohol anywhere in England and Wales. Laura Hall (pictured) was told by a court yesterday not to enter a pub, bar, club or off-licence for two years. The drinking banning order also states that she cannot buy alcohol or drink in any public place. Police applied to magistrates for the order because of the number of drinkrelated offences that Hall had been involved in. She had already been banned from pubs and clubs in her home town of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, under the PubWatch scheme. ‘This is the first [drinking banning order] issued on a nationwide basis,’ said Sgt David Roberts, of Bromsgrove police. ‘We chose to use this new legislation as a way of helping address Laura’s offending be-

By Fred Attewill haviour. We very much hope that, rather than seeing it as a punishment, she will use it as an opportunity to get her life back on track.’ Hall must also go on an alcohol misuse course as part of the order handed out by Kidderminster magistrates. It could be lifted after a year if she completes the course and has not breached any of its conditions. PC Neil Sharpe, licensing officer for Redditch and Bromsgrove, said he hoped it would be a example to others. However Rachel Seabrook, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, was concerned about the practical aspects of the order against Hall. ‘I am not opposed in principle to somebody being banned from drinking alcohol in public, but I do have doubts about whether it’s a realistic thing to enforce,’ she said.

U Zoo invests in the future

A BABY partula faba snail crawls over a 5p coin. The creature, which lives in trees, is one of the world’s most endangered species. Bristol Zoo has taken delivery of the last

MINICOSM

known colony of 88 snails in a bid to save them from extinction. Once widespread in Raiatea, French Polynesia, the 2mm-long snails are now extinct in the wild Picture: SWNS

SCIENCE & DISCOVERY IN BRIEF

● LIFE-LONG DIET: Eating less could see our average lifespan one day hit 100 years, researchers believe. Too many calories affect molecules in the body which play a role in ageing and put us a greater risk of heart problems and cancer. In less complex organisms, cutting calories can double or even triple lifespan but US researchers are working on using the approach to help more humans live to 80.

● CUT THE FAT: Halving our

intake of man-made fats would prevent 7,000 deaths a year in England, say doctors. Banning industrial trans fats completely was ‘one of the most straightforward’ ways to improve health, two Harvard doctors told the British Medical Journal. The fats increase the shelf-life of foods such as cakes but better alternatives now exist, they say. Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and two US states have already banned them.

If you have a story for MiniCosm please e-mail us at Cosm@ukmetro.co.uk

U‘Tweed rape victim blanked out assault’ A FRIEND of the teenager allegedly raped by Jack Tweed described how she desperately banged on the bedroom door in a bid to get her friend out. The woman, who cannot be named, said she could not get in the room because someone was holding the door. ‘That’s when I realised that there must have been two people in

there,’ she told Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London. She said her friend was ‘blank like she’d seen a ghost’ when she came out. Tweed, the widower of Jade Goody, and Anthony Davis, 26, deny raping the teenager on September 4 last year at Tweed’s flat in Woodford Green, east London. The case continues.


Friday, April 16, 2010 METRO 13

Politicians accused of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;contaminating scienceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; THE ban on the drug mephedrone shows politics has been allowed to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;contaminateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; science and the work of government advisers, a leading medical journal says today. The decision to ban meow meow was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rushedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;political and media pressureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; says The Lancet in a scathing editorial. The one-time legal high was made a Class B drug after reportedly being

By Ross McGuinness linked to 25 deaths, yet officials who recommended a ban admitted there was no scientific evidence of a causal link. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Alarmingly, the report, which was only a draft, was still being discussed by the ACMD when [its chairman Les] Iverson rushed out of the meeting to brief home secretary Alan Johnson of their recommendation in time for a press briefing,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; says The Lancet. A sec-

ond report saying not enough was being done to tackle youth alcohol and tobacco abuse was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;conveniently buriedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by the furore over mephedrone, it adds. Former ACMD member Eric Carlin, who resigned over the mephedrone decision, wrote on his blog: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We were unduly pressured by media and politicians to make a quick, tough decision to classify.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; The councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chairman, Prof David Nutt, was sacked last October for criti-

cising government policy on cannabis and ecstasy. His dismissal triggered the resignation of five other members. The ACMD affair signalled a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;disappointing finale to the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship with scienceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; concluded The Lancetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s editorial. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Politics has been allowed to contaminate scientific processes and the advice that underpins policy. Lessons from this debacle need to be learned by a new incoming government.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

UWriter wins libel battle A SCIENCE writer who spent ÂŁ200,000 defending himself for two years against a libel suit from the British Chiropractic Association was celebrating yesterday after it dropped the case. Simon Singh (pictured) was sued by the BCA because he wrote in The Guardian that it â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;happily promotes bogus treatmentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Earlier this month the Court of Appeal ruled he could use the defence of fair comment.

 

Double life: Laura Main, who also worked as an escort, died after taking a cocktail of alcohol and drugs Picture: National News

Drug death student took meow meow A LAW student who led a double life as an escort was found dead after taking a cocktail of alcohol and drugs including meow meow and GHB, an inquest heard. Laura Main was training to be a solicitor but also worked as an escort for an agency called Bunnies of London. And, in another persona, she DJâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d as Lady Asbo. The 28-year-old was found dead by an estate agent in her flat in Kensington, south-west London, on December 14 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; two days after she was last seen at a Christmas party thrown by her escort agency. Post-mortem

tests showed that Miss Main, who had a history of depression, was two-anda-half times over the drink-driving limit and had taken meow meow, the party drug GHB and Valium. It was likely she collapsed on her floor and went to sleep, probably on a Sunday â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;and was not discovered until Mondayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, said coroner Paul Knapman as he gave a verdict of death by misadventure. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The relevant drug is GHB and the cause of death was given as the combined effects of GHB and alcohol,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; he added at Westminster Coronerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Court.

  



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METRO Friday, April 16, 2010

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Britons deadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in compound blast BRITONS have died in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan, according to reports being investigated by the Foreign Office. Up to seven people were killed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; some British â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in a blast at a compound shared by western companies in the city of Kandahar, initial reports suggested. At least three foreigners and three Afghan soldiers were killed, said Ahmed Karzai, halfbrother of Afghan president Ha-

By Ross McGuinness mid Karzai. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We have no information to confirm anything at the moment â&#x20AC;&#x201C; investigations are taking place,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; said the Foreign Office. No British troops were involved, the MoD confirmed. The bomber is thought to have driven past a barrier into the compound before setting off the explosion at a second barrier. The blast blew out windows as

far away as 4km (2.5miles). The compound includes the offices of contracting company Louis Berger Group, the Afghanistan Stabilisation Initiative and aid company Chemonics International. The explosion happened hours after eight people were injured when a car bomb went off outside a hotel in the same city. Meanwhile, four German soldiers were killed in fighting in northern Afghanistan yesterday.

homedigest

14

Immigration centre death sparks unrest

eBay rare animal sale couple are spared jail

RIOT police were last night still trying to deal with a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;disturbanceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; at an immigration centre sparked by the death of a detainee. Between 100 and 200 detainees at Oakington, near Cambridge, were angry about the death of a 40-year-old Kenyan, sources said. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The authorities have done nothing to help him and now he is dead,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; said the source. The inmate was reported dead in the early hours of yesterday. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

A COUPLE who used eBay to illegally trade in dead endangered species have been given suspended 44-week jail terms. Graham and Norah Pitchforth (pictured), from West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing. Pitchforth, 61, and his wife, 65, will do 200 hoursâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; unpaid work.

Social workers â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;let down Guess who spent a troubled eight-year-oldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fortune on cookies? A BOY of eight who hanged himself was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;regularly let downâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by social workers, an inquest was told yesterday. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Emotionally troubledâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Rexford Boateng (pictured) died in October 2008 after a series of failures to help him, a coroner in HatďŹ eld, Hertfordshire, heard.

CIVIL servants spent ÂŁ11,000 of public cash on fortune cookies. The Ministry of Justice staff splashed out on 450 boxes of cookies, at ÂŁ24 a box, to launch an online promotion. They were sent to 42 local criminal justice boards in a bid to get people to log on. A written parliamentary answer also revealed British Transport Police spent ÂŁ9,000 on boiled sweets while the National Policing Improvement Agency and the UK Border Agency spent ÂŁ1,500 each on mints.

and ďŹ nallyâ&#x20AC;Ś THE chips are down, now potato farmers are keeping an eye out for thieves who have been digging up and stealing thousands of their spuds. Jersey growers have specially cultivated the gourmet Royal Pearl â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which sells for ÂŁ6 a kilogram â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but have had to watch their crop spirited away. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We think theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re being stolen to order,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; said Tesco potato buyer Paul Thomas.

Teacher cleared of sex with pupil A TRAINEE teacher cleared yesterday of having sex with one of her pupils called for him to be held to account for his lies. Hannah McIntyre said she was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ecstaticâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to be found not guilty of seducing the 16year-old. When asked if she felt angry about being hauled before the courts, the 25-year-old said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Anger is not first among my thoughts right now. But he has, with no accountability, made an accusation and I would like to see him have to realise the effect he has had on me.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; During the four-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court, it was alleged Miss McIntyre plied the boy with drink before having sex with him. She said he and two friends, pupils at Merchant Taylorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; School in Crosby, Merseyside, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bargedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; into her home. Miss McIntyre, who stands 1.52m (5ft) and was dubbed â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Jock Dwarfâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by students, was an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;easy targetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for disruptive children, the court heard.

  

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Friday, April 16, 2010 METRO 15

Pilot crashes into river at race trial A PILOT escaped with only minor injuries after his plane crashed into a river while he practised for a race yesterday. Adilson Kindlemann’s light aircraft is thought to have clipped the water while approaching a gate at the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. It then smashed into the river. The Brazilian (pictured) was then pulled out of the water and taken to hospital, where he was said to have escaped serious injury. ‘He

Smash: Adilson Kindlemann had been practising for the Red Bull race when his aircraft, above, crashed into the water, right Pictures: Getty

Passing GP saves life of shot girl By Joel Taylor THE life of a 16-year-old girl shot as she queued at a takeaway was saved by a passing doctor. Agnes Sina-Inakoju was lying on the floor of the eaterie, blood pumping out of a neck wound, when the passing GP came to her aid. He managed to staunch the flow and stabilise her condition before paramedics arrived to take her to hospital. Agnes, described as a star pupil, was last night in a critical condition. Friends described her as a happy girl who had never been in trouble. Police believe she was not the intended target of the shooting, believed to have been carried out by one of two youths on bicycles. A shopkeeper in Hoxton, east London, said: ‘I only heard one shot and I went out afterwards and the girl was on the floor and the blood was pumping from her neck and she was shaking like she was having a fit. ‘Luckily, there was a GP passing by

U A FOOTBALL fan died, impaled with a sharpened golf club, outside a pub in central London on Wednesday night. Sam Fitzgerald, 20, was killed after an apparent falling-out. ‘He was watching the game on TV with his big brother when Sam went outside,’ said a family member. ‘Soon after, his big brother went outside and saw Sam lying on the ground. The person who had killed him had come along with a golf club which had its head removed and which had been sharpened. It went right through his body and out the other side.’ A 20-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

and he went in. Apparently the doctor said it was 50/50 whether she would live or die.’ Det Ch Insp John Crossley said the youths fired indiscriminately through the window of the takeaway on Wednesday evening. He said the suspects were believed to be black youths, aged between 14 and 18. They fled on their mountain bikes.

The Green Room By Neil Sean

The Bill may have been axed by ITV but a mole says it could find a new home, adding: ‘We are hoping Five may take up the call but it’s still early days. We still think we have a loyal fan-base out there.’ Rumours that Cheryl Cole has changed her locks to keep out husband Ashley have been laughed off. ‘She did it because burglars know, thanks to the media, when she is away from home,’ said her team. Pixie Lott, it seems, knows her music career is already on the decline. She is hosting a fashion show for Channel 4 and

Celebrities behind closed doors told pals: ‘It’s good for me as I have my own fashion range out too.’ Kylie Minogue still tunes into her old show Neighbours. ‘I see a few old faces there and it takes me right back to being a teen again,’ she says. Katie Price’s husband Alex Reid may launch a tell-all book. The cage-fighter says: ‘It has been offered and I’d like to set the record straight, so who knows?’ Beat The Star may be ‘rested’ but host Vernon Kay is back with The Whole 19 Yards. ‘It’s quite tough but the prizes are great,’ he says.

For more celebrity gossip, just click on www.metro.co.uk/showbiz

appeared to be coming out of a turn,’ said Marianne Cashim, who witnessed the incident on the Swan river in Perth, Australia. ‘He was quite low to the water and his wing just clipped something and he dropped straight in. He was in the water for only a few minutes. They pulled him out very quickly.’ The Red Bull races are held around the world and see competitors fly their planes at up to 250mph through inflatable pylons on mostly water courses.

�O daY?

When you’re living with cancer, the good days really matter. The day you got something sorted out. Finally got some answers. The day you just had a chance to talk about what was on your mind. And felt better for it. At Macmillan we have a team of cancer support specialists whose role is simply to help you have more of the good days. Answering your questions about cancer. Helping you sort out your money worries. Or just being there for a chat, when it’s not such a good day. All you need to do is give them a call. Why not do it today?

For answers, help or just to chat about your day, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am−8pm) Or visit us online, anytime at macmillan.org.uk Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604).


16

Out Of Office Friday, April 16, 2010

Out Of Office

â&#x2014;? â&#x2014;? â&#x2014;? â&#x2014;? Edited by Lisa Scott travel@ukmetro.co.uk

Local tips Big Mama (manager of The Queenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cabaret troupe of drag queens) â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;My favourite bar to go to after our cabaret is The Lotus Bar. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like a party on the beach â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we drink, watch ďŹ re-dancers (pictured above), dance and make jokes. When we hear a classic song we all know and like â&#x20AC;&#x201C; something by Beyonce, Tina Turner or the Pussycat Dolls â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we dance together in a team.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Natalie (performer) â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I love Freedom Beach â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of my favourite places on the island. Lots of people coming to Koh Tao only go to the main beach (Sairee Beach), which is often quite busy. Freedom Beach is quiet and much more natural and relaxed than Sairee â&#x20AC;&#x201C; much better for people who just want some sun and sand.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Part woman, part ďŹ shâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; British record-breaking freediver Sarah Campbell can dive nearly 100 metres unaided. Doctors discovered her lungs are 25 per cent larger than an average person of her size and weight

Take a deep breathâ&#x20AC;Ś

S

unlight and the ocean surface seem a long way away. My chest is tight, my diaphragm is spasming, my body is crying out for a breath of air. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard in moments like this to remember the advice of my freediving instructor, Rodrigo: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The key to this discipline is relaxationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. But, 20 metres under the sea, with no breathing equipment and only a jellyfish for company, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel too relaxed. With its combination of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;communing with natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in tropical waters and breathing and relaxation techniques from yoga and meditation, freediving (diving without scuba gear) is about as Zen a sporting activity as you can get. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also physically and mentally challenging, pushing your body beyond its normal limits. I get my freediving instruction at Apnea Total on Koh Tao, a small diving-obsessed island off Thailandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s south-east coast. Opened in 2004 by freedivers Monica Ganame and Eusebio

Freediving: Swimming to the seabed unaided off the coast of a Thai island is a stunning way to get in touch with nature â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and being relaxed is crucial BY GRAEME GREEN Saenz de Santamaria, the school is run by a team of friendly, ultrapositive, Zen-like instructors â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a sign of what living on a paradise island and doing what you love every day can do for a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disposition. Lessons are split into mornings in the classroom, learning breathing techniques to pack the body with oxygen, and afternoons in the water practising what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve learnt. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re taught to combine decisive movements and a strong mental focus with relaxation (a relaxed body and mind use less oxygen). It works. At first, I struggle to put all the techniques together smoothly, only reaching the 12metre target with great

difficulty. I finish the first day daunted by the idea of pushing any further. But the next day, more relaxed and confident having completed my homework breathing exercises, I dive down 20 metres, my feet touching the weight at the bottom of the buoy line. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very different experience to scuba diving â&#x20AC;&#x201C; eerily quiet without the Darth Vader-like sound of scuba gear. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stay under as long but the benefits are clear to Eusebio, who can dive to 81 metres and hold his breath for 7.5 minutes. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;With scuba, you carry all that heavy equipment, so freediving is much freer,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; he says. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;And with scuba youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re more like a spectator, whereas freediving is like youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re actually swimming with the fish.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Day three brings more challenges. I learn to bring on my mammalian dive reflex (MDR), physiological changes, including a slowed heartrate, which humans share with

dolphins, seals and whales. The accompanying diaphragm contractions arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pleasant but understanding them means diving deeper and for longer. I practise breath-holds, floating motionless, face-down, on the ocean surface. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a surreal dreamlike state, bobbing gently with the waves, Eusebio gripping my arm to check Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m OK. Feeling like Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m about to explode, I hear his voice encouraging me â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;just a few seconds longer.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; When I finally lift my head, he shows me my time. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve held my breath underwater for four minutes, 15 seconds. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to make a hell of a party trick. The MDR and some new â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;breatheupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; techniques come in handy over two further days of diving. I reach 27 metres, the water getting colder and darker. With each dive, I return to the surface thinking I could push even further â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the addictive side of the sport. There are signs, though, of how much weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re pushing ourselves â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one student has a short blackout returning to the surface, another has a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;sambaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, a little shaky episode resembling the Brazilian dance, both indicating the brain isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t getting enough oxygen.

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Friday, April 16, 2010 Out Of Office 17

 Koh Tao â&#x20AC;&#x201C; other things to do â&#x2013;  Dive! Dive! â&#x20AC;&#x201C; With more dive schools than you can shake a snorkel at, Koh Tao is Thailandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier diving spot, with courses from beginner to instructor level. Of the 20-plus dive sites close to the island, Chumphon Pinnacle is highly recommended for a chance to see bull sharks up to four metres long (pictured in main article). Diving conditions are best from December to April. â&#x2013;  Box clever â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Monsoon Gym Island Muay Thai is Taoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best spot to see kickboxing matches or to have a go yourself with a personal training session.

Flipside: Freediving requires special breathing and relaxation techniques

 Is Thailand safe?

Picture: Alamy

Confidence is high on my last day, though. I reach my personal best: 31 metres. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s incredibly satisfying â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m surpassing limits that just days ago seemed impossible and the reward is experiencing a unique feeling of calm and solitude, with the deep blue sea in all directions. And Eusebioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right â&#x20AC;&#x201C; rather than being a spectator, you feel part of the

underwater environment, just another mammal naturally under the sea. At the end of the day, Rodrigo gives us some advice for future freediving, our last homework exercise: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The best homework is making love,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; he says, smiling. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;It makes you happy; you feel peaceful, relaxedâ&#x20AC;Ś perfect for freediving.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Just one more reason why these freedivers are so Zen.

Two-day beginner freediving courses with Apnea Total (www.apnea-total.com) cost around ÂŁ106. Three-day advanced courses cost around ÂŁ135. Graeme ďŹ&#x201A;ew to Bangkok using Expedia.co.uk (0871 226 0808), which has return ďŹ&#x201A;ights from Heathrow with Emirates Airways for ÂŁ552pp. For transport from Bangkok to Koh Tao, see www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Following riots in Thailand, at the time of press, all ďŹ&#x201A;ights and package holidays were operating as normal and the Foreign and Commonwealth OfďŹ ce (FCO) was not advising against travelling there, so donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be put off. Here, Bob Atkinson, travel expert at travelsupermarket.com, offers advice to those who are in Thailand or planning a visit: â&#x2013;  Avoid all gatherings and crowds â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the government has banned meetings of more than ďŹ ve people. â&#x2013;  Keep up with developments via the (FCO) website and the media.

 

        



 

                    

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â&#x2013;  Tattoo you â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The streets around Mae Had pier and Sairee Beach are lined with tattoo parlours, particularly busy in the evenings when travellers have had a few Changs (beers) or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bucketsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for courage.

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The FCO lists areas of the country where travel is advised against, so check regularly for changes. â&#x2013;  Always carry your passport and travel insurance details with you. â&#x2013;  Register with the FCO Locate scheme (www.fco.gov.uk/en). This ensures the FCO is aware you are in the country and is invaluable should trouble escalate and British people are advised to leave. â&#x2013;  If you wish to cancel or amend your holiday plans, consult your booking provider.


18

Out Of Office Friday, April 16, 2010

U Coworth Park, Ascot Flying the British flag for planet preservation, this Georgian country town house and spa set in 200 acres of green belt Berkshire parkland will boast the most cutting-edge green credentials in the world. ‘We have seized upon the opportunity to introduce some of the latest zero-carbon technologies at Coworth Park,’ says Christopher Cowdray, CEO of the Dorchester Collection. ‘A first for hotels of this nature, we will grow our own willow as fuel for the biomass boiler and have ensured we have energy-efficient heating, cooling and water systems throughout.’ In addition to solarcontrolled glazing, a water recycling treatment plant and a sunken kitchen garden to provide organic vegetables to the two on-site restaurants, the hotel will also have a luxury underground spa built into the hillside with a ‘living roof’ growing plants such as St John’s wort, camomile and lavender for use in the natural treatments on offer. ‘Our guests will be predominantly staying for leisure,’ says Cowdray, ‘and we expect to appeal to a lot of Londoners looking for a country escape without having to travel too far.’ Doubles from £215. www.coworthpark.com

Much more than a bed for the night

T

he recession – what a bore. Not so long ago we were all flying by the seats of our pants, from restaurateurs to retailers, and holidays were an absolute must. Then came tougher times, our exotic escapades were binned and the staycation was born. Spring has now sprung, however, and what felt like a never-ending January is now finally coming to a close. It seems the harsh realities of last

New ventures: Hoteliers are fighting back after the recession by branching out BY POLLY HUMPHRIS year’s financial depression have unearthed a new spirit of adventure, not just in us, but in hoteliers across Britain and Europe too. ‘This year many more unusual hotels

U Longevity Wellness Resort, Algarve If you’re feeling a little loose around the edges and aren’t keen on the frozen-faced Botox look, this is the place for you. Situated in the lush green hills of Monchique, a protected nature reserve, the Longevity Wellness Resort will be the first ever medically backed resort dedicated to anti-ageing. ‘We are the first Longevity Medical Spa to be integrated into a Portuguese

resort and are in exclusive partnership with La Clinique de Paris and Dr Claude Chauchard, a world-leading expert in preventative medicine and

and holiday experiences are coming on to the market,’ says Lorna StricklandCook, travel editor at www. whereandnow.com. ‘Be they funky, themed or environmentally friendly, it’s exciting and encouraging to see options being developed given the economy, though on the up, is still not in the best shape.’ To give you food for thought, we’ve rounded up a few of the more unique lodging options opening across Britain and Europe this summer. ageing management,’ says Cristina Ventura, resort sales and marketing director. ‘The inspiration behind the development of a resort to provide unique ageing management programmes was simply that living better and living longer concerns most people now.’ The resort provides a wide range of facilities dedicated to rest, relaxation and healthy living and is in a prime location for nature lovers. Doubles from €200 (about £175) www.longevitywellnessresort.com

Water view: An artist’s impression of the Longevity Wellness Resort, in the Algarve, Portugal


Friday, April 16, 2010 Out Of Office 19

U Alde Garden, Suffolk

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U Hotel Milano Scala, Milan

Ever stayed in a Mongolian yurt, a nativeAmerican tipi or a gipsy caravan? Me neither but I definitely will this summer. Alde Garden is an enchanting campsite with a difference. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We love camping, we love Suffolk and we love the environment,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; says co-owner Marie Smith. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always dreamed of running a campsite and the idea grew into a desire to create something different but still affordable. What makes us unique is our eclectic mix of accommodation and the fact we made our yurt with our own fair hands. We hope to entice some novices to have a go at roughing it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; heating with wood, cooking over an open fire, having an outside jungle shower â&#x20AC;&#x201C; while also promoting the luxurious aspects of eco living.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Opera seems to be becoming more popular by the minute and this elegant, opera-themed fourstar hotel in the centre of Milan will suit lovers of the Italian art form down to the ground. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The vicinity of the hotel to the La Scala theatre was the trigger to dedicate it to the world of opera and the theatre,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; says Vittorio Modena, the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s project promoter. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We wanted our hotel to tell the story of its location to its guests. Each room will tell the guest a little bit about opera and the world of the Scala.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; The room names, such as Carmen and La Bohème, extensive music library and abundance of classic photography are true to the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theme.

www.aldegarden.com; 2-5 sleeping yurt from ÂŁ50

Doubles from â&#x201A;Ź210 (ÂŁ185) www.hotelmilanoscala.it


SPORT

60

Picture: Action Images

Broad: We’ll be ready for World Twenty20 UP50

Defiant Barca up for Cesc signing By Paul Murphy

LIVERPOOL captain Steven Gerrard arrives at Anfield yesterday for a memorial service to mark the 21st anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans. Boss Rafa Benitez and his players and staff all attended.

ARSENAL’s miserable week worsened last night when Barcelona reignited talk of a move for Cesc Fabregas. The development follows Wednesday’s derby defeat to Tottenham, after which Arsene Wenger all but gave up on the title, and in which Denilson and Thomas Vermaelen added to the Gunners’ injury woes. Hours before the game, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-

Barca interest: Fabregas

Wood claimed Barca had given ‘assurances’ at the ‘highest possible level’ they would not pursue a deal for Gunners skipper Fabregas this summer. However, the European

champions’ sporting director Txiki Begiristain yesterday denied that was the case. ‘If Barca consider it necessary for the team they will go for him while always respecting the negotiations,’ he said. ‘We’ve never said we are not going to try to sign Cesc. We’ll see what happens.’ The development is a further blow to Wenger, who confirmed key defender Vermaelen has a calf injury and is unlikely to play again this season.

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